In Part One of this story, we met Janet after fraudsters had attempted to submit charges to her Visa credit card. Janet's story continues with some unexpected twists, which we all can learn from.
After Visa -- and not her credit union -- had notified Janet of some fraudulent charges, Janet followed my advice and notified Visa in writing (e.g., a letter via Postal Mail with a Return Receipt) that the charges were indeed bogus. Visa removed the bogus charges.
Janet was curious why her credit union had not notified her about the fraudulent credit card charges, since the credit union issued her Visa credit card. Her credit union indicated that her situation was not a result of the Heartland Payment Systems data breach, since her credit card number wasn't on the list of compromised card numbers the credit union received.
This seemed odd to me since Visa's arrangement with Heartland is well documented in the news media. Thinking that here situation was resolved, Janet was surprised to receive via postal mail a letter from Experian notifying her of an attempted address-change request. Somebody was attempting to change Janet's address on her Experian credit report. This was a troubling surprise for several reasons:
- Janet had not submitted an address to change to Experian or to any other credit reporting agencies
- Janet has a Security Freeze on her credit reports at the three major credit reporting agencies (e.g., Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to prevent unauthorized access. An attempted address change by a fraudster is clearly an unauthorized access.
- In its letter, Experian also said that it had sent a notice of this attempted address change to both the new address and to Janet's current address
Janet is puzzled why Experian would send a letter to the new address when she alread has in place a Security Freeze prventing access to her Experian credit report. Next, Janet did what anyone would do: she called Experian's customer service number to talk with a representative. Janet did not want to just send a letter to Experian. She wanted faster action, since identity thieves were trying to access her sensitive personal data.
Sadly, Janet has been unable to talk with a human representative at Experian. When calling the Customer Serivce number, she gets stuck in an endless series of menus to phone messages, with no way to talk to a human customer service representative. Same results with Experian's web site.
Janet followed my advice and filed a police report with local law enforcement. After filing the report, the detective involved has also been unable to contact a human representative at Experian.
Janet asked me what she should do next, since she is leaving for vacation for 10 days. I said that while she is on vacation, I will try to contact the President or CEO of Experian to see what type of response I could get for her. Janet is also contacting her local Congressional Representative.
Janet should be able to talk with a human representative from Experian, especially during a time when identity thieves are attempting to access her Experian credit reports. Janet's experience so far seems to indicate a customer service melt-down at Experian.
This story is far from over. If you want to learn what happens, sign up for either e-mail or RSS updates from I've Been Mugged. As I learn more, I will post it in this blog.